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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Paul Krugman, "Rich Man’s Recovery": Tax the Rich to Fund Preschool?

Do you remember some nine months ago when the Department of Health and Human Services released its report concerning the impact of the Head Start program? As reported at the time by Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/14/head-start-sad-and-costly-secret-what-washington-doesnt-want-to-know/):

"‘Twas the Friday before Christmas, and while most Americans were enjoying time with family and friends, the bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) were stirring quietly about, preparing to release its long-overdue evaluation of the Head Start program.

Head Start is an $8 billion per year federal preschool program, designed to improve the kindergarten readiness of low-income children. Since its inception in 1965, taxpayers have spent more than $180 billion on the program.

But HHS’ latest Head Start Impact Study found taxpayers aren’t getting a good return on this 'investment.'  According to the congressionally-mandated report, Head Start has little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of its participants. In fact, on a few measures, access to the program actually produced negative effects."

Well, Paul Krugman apparently doesn't remember the report. In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Rich Man’s Recovery" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/13/opinion/krugman-rich-mans-recovery.html?_r=0), which is primarily devoted to bemoaning the disparity between the status of the rich and the poor in the United States, Krugman concludes:

"Take, for example, the proposal by Bill de Blasio, who finished in first place in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and is the probable next mayor of New York, to provide universal prekindergarten education, paid for with a small tax surcharge on those with incomes over $500,000. The usual suspects are, of course, screaming and talking about their hurt feelings; they’ve been doing a lot of that these past few years, even while making out like bandits. But surely this is exactly the sort of thing we should be doing: Taxing the ever-richer rich, at least a bit, to expand opportunity for the children of the less fortunate.

Some pundits are already suggesting that Mr. de Blasio’s unexpected rise is the leading edge of a new economic populism that will shake up our whole political system. That seems premature, but I hope they’re right. For extreme inequality is still on the rise — and it’s poisoning our society."

Tax the very rich to fund universal prekindergarten education? This is going to differ in its end result from Head Start? Good luck.

And if the rich decide to pick up and leave New York for a friendlier locale, as is their wont, what happens to New York City's tax base?

Mind you, I don't dispute the growing gap between rich and poor in the US and the frightening shrinkage of America's middle class (see: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-12/business/35496368_1_income-inequality-median-household-income-middle-class).

I also don't care for the "super rich": There is a reason that they got to where they are, and it's usually not pretty.

But tax them for programs that are not going to help anyone?

They'll simply pack their bags and leave, unless you round them up and shoot them, like the "kulaks" murdered by Stalin, whose eradication led to the Soviet famine of 1932-1933 and the deaths of millions of more people.

Krugman tells us, "Inherited privilege is crowding out equality of opportunity; the power of money is crowding out effective democracy." I agree, and perhaps he would like to speak with Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and the Clintons in order to obtain some more effective ideas how best to address the issue.

1 comment:

  1. JG:
    1) deBlasio will not win if anyone finally realizes (besides the 60% of Dem primary voters who voted for someone else) that he is the Working Families Party candidate, not correlated with his zero relevant experience in managing what is a city-state.

    2) deBlasio is not thinking of another Head Start. His proposal is more about finding a stealth way to fund day care for working families. An admirable goal if NYC was not facing a budget shortfall next year and no union contracts for four years awaiting negotiations.

    The irony is that WFP is fracturing the Dem machine, and the Dems have not figured out how the WFP dog caught the whole car, and seven new City Council members.

    k

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